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Deurganck terminal – Port of Antwerp – equipped with modern Wi-Fi network

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Author(s): Freddy Trompet, MarCom Manager, LXE International, Mechelen, Belgium

When it was decided to build a new dock (the Deurganck dock) in the port of Antwerp, PSA HNN opted for the west side of this dock. The Deurganck dock has put the port of Antwerp emphatically back on the world map, and will play a decisive role in the long term because it ensures that the port of Antwerp can grow as an efficient port for international trade and redistribution.

Sector specialists

In its final phase the Deurganck terminal will have a length of 2,750m. The total surface area will be 2,000,000m2. It is a huge site that must be developed fully into an operational terminal in a short time frame.

Jan Callens, IT Project Manager at PSA HNN: “we had been familiar with LXE’s expertise for quite some time through wireless implementations at a number of different terminals. LXE has a strong reputation in the port sector, which has specific requirements in terms of the reliability of the wireless network.”

Clear assignment

LXE was the first to introduce 2.4GHz technology in the port sector, and did so successfully. “Broadband is not only more modern than narrow band,” says Jan Callens, “the performance and results are also better, everything runs smoother and more flexibly, so that we can offer our customers a better service.

This technology gives us the guarantee that future extensions such as the exchange of GPS coordinates with straddle carriers will be possible without further ado and the terminal can be expanded in full while retaining the basic concept. This means integrating the components of the wireless network fully in the new network topology in order to simplify maintenance and diagnosis.

Although 2.4GHz has the reputation of requiring many access points for large surfaces, LXE can refute this idea thanks to the SPIRE® Solution in combination with Cisco access points. This revolutionary antenna technology means that only a limited number of access points are needed to guarantee optimum coverage. Jan Callens explains. “We try to upload or download heavy files at different random locations. Coverage control by at least two Cisco access points and transmission speed are easy to verify. There are no two ways about it – it’s mission accomplished.”

In & out/up & down

PSA HNN staff are ready with a handheld computer at the in and out gates for trucks and enter the required data for each incoming container. They also check the state of the container. A number of forms that the truck driver needs to get his container picked up by a straddle carrier further on come out of the printer immediately.

The driver parks in a lane. Every lane has a unique number. The driver enters this number as well as a number of codes from the forms that he receives into one of the terminals that are set up right beside the lanes. All of the straddle carriers are equipped with a LXE half-screen vehicle mounted computer.

This VMC’s screen displays which container must be taken from the truck and where this container has to be placed. The straddle carrier operator performs the  assignment and confirms the location and end of the task with the keyboard so that he can begin a new one.

The exact opposite happens when ships are being unloaded. The containers are then checked for correctness using the hand-held computer. After approval, a straddle carrier gets a message to come to collect the container and to place it in a particular location.

Success

A port is an extremely tough working area. Whether the weather is good or bad, the ships have to be unloaded and loaded, seven days a week, around the clock.  Nothing can go wrong, regardless of the work and weather conditions.  “The 2.4GHz project at the Deurganck terminal was implemented without too many teething troubles,” Jan Callens concludes. “The wireless network has become so obvious now that we occasionally forget how everything happened in the starting phase. This is a good sign! The project can definitely be viewed as a success.”


Featured in the Edition:

Edition 34

PTI Edition 34 • Digital & Print
In edition 34 of Port Technology International, we look at how fast-scan technology increases security and decreases bottlenecks; how WiFi technology is powering real-time intermodal operations at Deurganck terminal; and focus on the growth of the Baltic States, and development strategies for Lithuanian ports.



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